Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson has said the U.S. Navy needs to grow its fleet of combat ships and undergo a naval warfare transformation that would allow the service to fight adversaries in novel ways, Defense News reported Wednesday.
Richardson, an inductee into Executive Mosaic’s Wash100 for 2017, told reporters the military branch needs to immediately take measures to reach a “greater naval power” by mid-2020s amid the threats posed by Russia and China.
“We are headed now to a fleet that’s about 310 ships, but if you look at the long-term forecast it’s clear that to get beyond that we’re going to have to start building,” he added.
He also cited the role of the industrial base in efforts to ramp up shipbuilding activities and the need to leverage networking to facilitate connections between ships and aircraft.
Richardson also released a paper titled The Future Navy Wednesday.
The document said the Navy needs a 350-ship fleet that includes both unmanned and manned platforms and should integrate new operational concepts and technologies.
“A 355-ship Navy using current technology is insufficient for maintaining maritime superiority,” Richardson wrote.
“But we must also implement new ways of operating our battle fleet, which will comprise new types of ships.”
The report noted that unmanned systems should be complemented with directed energy platforms, missiles and cyber tools.